2015 Congressional Bill would Increase Federal Funds for HBCUs
(TRENTON) – A resolution sponsored by Assembly Democrats Benjie Wimberly, Arthur Barclay, Cleopatra Tucker, Shavonda Sumter and Jamel Holley urging Congress and the President to enact The Land-Grant Opportunity Act was advanced through the Assembly Higher Education Committee on Monday. The resolution (AR-43) calls upon both houses of the United State Congress as well as the commander-in-chief to federally institute The Land-Grant Opportunity Act, which was sponsored by Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Florida and introduced in the US House of Representatives on October 26, 2015 as H.R.3828.
“It’s time HBCUs, which have long helped African-Americans achieve their dreams and goals, including myself, get the federal funding they deserve,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic), who attended Virginia State University, an 1890 land-grant institution.
This bill addresses inequities in funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by increasing expenditures for these institutions. The Land-Grant Opportunity Act distinguishes between the Morrill Act of 1862, which required all states to have at least one land-grant institution, and the Morrill Act of 1890, which barred states from making race a factor in the admission criteria at these institutions since the schools founded under the pretext of the 1862 law remained predominantly white.
“We are not asking for too much,” said Barclay (D-Camden/Gloucester). “All we seek is fairness and justice, and the best way to do that is to invest equally in our educational institutions.” “As an attendee of an HBCU, I know the impact they not only on black families, but on all American families,” said Tucker (D-Essex), who attended Tennessee State University. “We only want to give them the funding that they deserve.” “It is the responsibility of leaders of the present to continue to fight for funding equity for higher education institutions,” said Sumter (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Equal access to higher education is how all of our young people can achieve greatness.” “We call on the federal government to enact this bill; something that is long overdue,” said Holley (D-Union). “The time is now.”
Historically, HBCUs, or 1890 land-grant institutions, have received significantly less federal funding–sometimes receiving half that of other institutions–than their 1862 counterparts, and the co-sponsors of the Assembly resolution claim that this bill can help right this past inequity which has unfairly affected HBCUs.